After the death of the spouse, the life partner or the life partner, the tax bracket changes in the long term; In the short term, tax class III can be retained

If your spouse or partner dies, you will be placed in tax class III in the year of death and the following year.

Your tax bracket is automatically changed to tax class III from the first month following the date of death of your spouse or your life partner (hereinafter for both: partner). In the following year, you will also remain in tax class III.
However, you do not enter tax class III if you were permanently separated at the time of death. From the beginning of the second calendar year after the death of your partner, you will be placed in tax class I.

Instead of tax class I, you may be eligible for the more favorable tax class II if you are entitled to the relief amount for single parents. You can apply for classification in tax class II at your local tax office.

Since the entry into force of the act introducing the right to marry for persons of the same sex on 1.10.2017, no new civil partnerships can be established in Germany. Since then, same-sex couples have been able to enter into marriage with each other and are thus on an equal footing with couples of different sexes.
Existing civil partnerships can be converted into a marriage. However, there is no obligation to do so. Existing civil partnerships can be continued in their current form.

You do not need to submit any documentation.

Forms: none

Online procedure possible: yes

Written form required: yes

Personal appearance required: no

Related Links

  • "Application for wage tax reduction" in the form management system of the Federal Finance Administration in the area "Tax forms" under "Wage tax (employee)"
  • Application online on ELSTER


You and your deceased partner did not live permanently apart at the time of death.

Related Links

  • ยง 38b Income Tax Act (EStG)

You do not have to do anything to obtain tax class III after your partner dies. The registration authority notifies the Federal Central Tax Office of changes in marital status.
If you wish to be classified in tax class II, you can apply for this. Follow these steps:

  • In the form management system of the Federal Finance Administration, in the "Tax Forms" section under "Wage tax (employees)", select the appropriate application form: "Application for income tax reduction" with the attachment Children for the respective year
  • Fill out the application on the electronic device or print it by hand and sign it.
  • Send the application by post to your local tax office.
  • You will receive a notification.

Alternatively, you can also apply for classification in tax class II online and barrier-free via ELSTER. ELSTER is barrier-free and platform-independent access to the electronic services of the tax administration.
For electronic authenticated transmission, you need a certificate. You will receive this after your registration on ELSTER. Please note that the registration process can take up to 2 weeks.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony State Tax Office

Last update or date of publication